Scott Thomas certainly can play golf. He’s been a successful amateur champion on several levels.
Now he will take that knowledge and ability to the next step in his life as a head coach in college golf.
Maryville University Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation Lonnie Folks announced recently Thomas has been promoted to be the head coach for both the Saints men’s and women’s golf teams. He has served as the assistant coach for both programs since 2015.
Thomas succeeds Glenn Paulus, who is retiring from full-time duty at the university but will remain with the two teams as an assistant coach.
“I am excited,” Thomas said. “It’s a great new way to stay involved with the game. I looking forward to helping these young people get better. It’s going to be fun.
“I’d like to think I can bring some things to the table and help them achieve their goals.”
Thomas helped lead the Saints men’s team to three straight NCAA Tournaments and the 2019 Great Lakes Valley Conference championship.
He has coached three All-GLVC selections, one Freshman of the Year and one All-Midwest selection.
The Saints also have garnered four individual Academic All-American awards and two team Academic All-America honors.
For the women’s team, Thomas helped Carmen Villaverde earn a berth to the NCAA Division II Women’s Golf East Regional and All-GLVC honors in 2019. The Saints women have been awarded the WGCA All-Scholar Team Award three times and 13 individual selections.
“I was a part time assistant time there for a while. I liked all that we were doing with the programs,” Thomas said. “This switch of roles has been in the works for a year or so. Glenn can wind down and still be involved. It’s great all the way around.”
As a player, Thomas had a successful career as an amateur golfer at the local, state and national levels.
He has won the Missouri Amateur, Missouri Mid-Amateur, and the Missouri Senior Amateur championships.
Locally, Thomas has won the St. Louis District Golf Association’s Men’s and Senior Championships. He also has captured the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship.
He was named the 1992 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Amateur Player of the Year and the 2008 Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association Senior Player of the Year.
Thomas has competed in six R&A Amateur Championships and 12 the United States Golf Association championships.
In 2017, he qualified for his most recent USGA appearance when he played in the Senior Amateur Championship held at Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, Minn.
Thomas is a Certified Mental Game Coaching Professional and chairman of the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association Advisory Committee.
He is a 1981 graduate of St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn.
Thomas played four seasons for the Huskies men’s golf team, the last two years as team captain.
Thomas is looking forward to this duties at Maryville.
“It’s a full time job. Like many Division II sports like golf, there’s one full-time coach for men and women and an assistant,” Thomas said. “I enjoy recruiting and talking to young golfers. Recruiting is mostly a summer activity. That’s when the better high school athletes are competing so I’m seeing them play in those events.”
The golf programs at Maryville are in good shape, Thomas said.
“First of all, the university is growing and is healthy,” Thomas said. “Everything around campus is getting better. We graduated some good players last year but the guys won the conference championship. We’ve got four freshmen coming in who can flat out play.
“The women are getting better. We have got one coming in who can be a starter.”
College golf is played basically year round except for the winter break. The teams practice and play in the fall and that sets them up for the spring season. In the spring, the matches and tournaments are played for and for the opportunity to get into NCAA postseason play.
“We are in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and it’s on the stronger conferences in the nation in Division II,” Thomas said. “We’ll spend time evaluating talent and recruiting for both teams to see where we are a year from now. We’re going to bring in a high level of talent that can strart contributing immediately and take a big jump in our talent depth.
“One goal is to be prepared to play and play well enough to make the postseason in the spring and go on from there. I prefer to look locally for talent but the goal is to build the best squad you can. We play emphasis on our athletes to be good students and get a degree.”
Will all this leave time for Thomas to tee it up and play?
“I’m rusty,” Thomas acknowledged. “I’m playing less than ever. That’s OK. I played a long time and competed a long time. I’m playing a lot now just for fun. More casual goal now.”
That’s fine with him. He likes what lies ahead of him.
“It’s refreshing to be with these programs,” Thomas said. “There’s so much energy and enthusiasm. They’re all great kids to work with.”